Lifestyle

Five Ways to Stay on Track During the Holidays

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Another year has passed and it’s time to gather with friends and family for seasonal festivities and, of course, food.  As the sweet scent of eggnog and Christmas cake fill the air, don’t let the holiday classics blow all of your hard work and dedication.  While many fitness enthusiasts implement a weekly “cheat meal” to offset metabolic adaptation, continued excessive caloric intake will cause weight gain.  Follow these five simple steps to move toward your fitness goals while enjoying the holidays.

Keep regular meals in line with your current nutritional plans and goals.
Try your best to always keep your dietary schedule as consistent as possible. However, if you plan to indulge, be sure to consume lean proteins throughout the day and save your carb intake for that planned treat. If you usually have eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, pass on the oats and try having egg whites instead. Keep on schedule and have your nutritional small meals two to three hours apart. When it’s time for turkey and all the fix-ins, enjoy! Eat mindfully, enjoying every bite as you would any other reward meal, then get back on track.

Do a morning activity to get blood flowing and calories burning.
Get your family outside for some healthy competition. Try organizing morning flag football, ultimate frisbee, or even a mini boot camp! Get outside, get active and start burning some calories before the big feast. Boosting your metabolism with a high-intensity workout will help you burn more calories for the next 24 to 48 hours- even while you sleep! It is most ideal to work around 85% of your maximum heart rate (MHR- to calculate your MHR, subtract your age from 220).

Minimize alcohol intake, especially while you’re eating.
Eating beyond your usual caloric level tends to happen during the holidays. Minimizing alcohol intake can keep healthy digestion on track. Alcohol inhibits digestion, thereby increasing the likelihood of fat storage because the body will always attend to removing harmful alcohol toxins before digesting food to be used as energy.

Drink more water.
Healthy digestion also requires adequate amounts of water. In order to optimize the body’s ability to remove toxins, burn fat and lubricate organs and joints, hydration must be made a priority. Not only will you cut cravings and feel more full quicker, you will also be replacing minerals lost during those pre-holiday dinner activities.

Use stored energy from holiday meals to blast large muscle groups the following day.
Plan your workouts accordingly. Because you’re going to be indulging in extra calories, use the stored energy for an awesome workout the next day. Focus on major muscle groups like legs or chest and back. Execute super sets with heavy weights followed by 20-30 minutes of high-intensity interval cardio post workout.

So there you have it! Whatever you choose to indulge in this holiday season, sticking to a plan that aligns with your long-term goals will help keep you on track. Implement these five important steps during the holidays and select a New Year’s resolution worth following to maximize your chances of success!

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Lauren Rae
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